*updated February 2021*
Applying for a driver’s license is an exciting milestone, but can seem daunting: Missouri has multiple laws that must be followed before teens can legally hit the road.
Missouri is one of many states that has implemented a graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program, which outlines a process of steps teens need to complete and rules that must be followed receive full driving privileges. On its face, this program might make getting a license seem intimidating or a hassle, but it is designed to foster safe, responsible decisions
To eliminate the headache of getting your teen properly licensed, here’s an easy-to-follow guide outlining Missouri Driver’s License Laws.
See guidelines on how to obtain a driver’s license in Missouri and frequently asked questions:
Applying for a Missouri Teen Driver’s License (Teens qualify at 15 years of age):
- Teens (under the age of 18) must first obtain a Missouri Learner’s Permit (also called an “Instruction Permit”)
- Teens must then obtain an Intermediate Driver’s License
- After completion of Steps 1 and 2, your Teen can obtain a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License
When Are Missourians Eligible to Obtain a Missouri Learner’s Permit?
You must be at least 15 years old to obtain an instruction permit in the state of Missouri.
What Step(s) Need to be Taken to Obtain a Missouri Learner’s Permit?
To obtain your learner’s permit, you must visit a Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Examination Station and pass the following:
- A Vision Test.
- A Road Signs Exam.
- A Written Knowledge Test.
- NOTE: A parent or legal guardian must accompany the teen to the license office to sign a permission statement.
After passing the Missouri permit exams, you will receive a Driver Examination Record (Form DOR-100) indicating that they successfully passed all required tests. With this form, you need to visit a local Missouri license office (DMV) with a parent/or guardian where you will be issued a temporary Teen Permit until the Permanent Teen Permit comes in the mail.
I Just Got My Missouri Learner’s Permit, What Laws Do I Need to Know?
– Under age 16, you may drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is:
- a parent;
- a legal guardian;
- a grandparent;
- a qualified driving instructor;
- a qualified driver at least 25 years of age who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and has received written permission from the parent or legal guardian; or
- a qualified driver designated by the disabled parent or guardian of the permit holder.
– At age 16 or older, you may drive when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver license.
– State law requires seat belts to be worn by the driver and all passengers.
– Your teen’s test paper alone is not legal for driving. Be sure to carry your permit with you.
– Your teen’s instruction permit is valid for 1 year and may be renewed.
I Have a Missouri Learner’s Permit, When Will I Be Eligible for an Intermediate Driver’s License?
- Missouri Driver’s License Laws allow all teens between the ages of 16 and 18 years old who have had an Instructional Permit for at least 6 months to be eligible for an Intermediate Driver’s License.
What Step(s) Need to be Taken to Obtain an Intermediate Driver’s License?
Step One: You must hold a valid, unexpired instruction permit for at least 182 days (beginning the day after issuance).
Step Two: You may not have any alcohol-related offenses in the last 12 months and no traffic convictions in the last 6 months.
Step Three: A parent, legal guardian or grandparent must accompany you to the license office to verify they have received 40 hours of driving instruction, including a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving instruction between sunset and sunrise.
Step Four: You must pass the vision, road sign recognition, and written tests at a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station if previous results are more than one year old
Step Five: You must pass the driving test at a local Missouri Driver License Office or a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station.
NOTE: You will need to provide Proof of Insurance and Missouri Vehicle Registration for the vehicle you’ll be taking their road test in.
I Just Got My Intermediate Driver’s License, What Laws and Rules Do I Need to Know?
- During the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger who is under 19 years old and who is not a member of their immediate family.
- After the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than three passengers who are under 19 years old and who are not members of your immediate family.
- You may not drive alone from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. except to and from a school activity, job, or for an emergency, unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older.
I Have an Intermediate Driver’s License, When Will I Be Eligible for a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License
- Under state law, all teens age 18 years old are eligible for a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License.
What Step(s) Need to be Taken to Obtain a Missouri Under-21 Full Driver’s License?
Step One: You must satisfy the requirements for an Intermediate License, including having no alcohol-related offenses or traffic convictions in the last 12 months.
Step Two: You must have a valid intermediate license. Their driving privilege cannot be suspended, revoked, or denied when you apply for a full license.
Gonzalo Fernandez is a personal injury attorney based in St. Louis. He regularly uses his legal expertise to offer insight on events impacting Missourians. Recent media appearances include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS St. Louis, Fox 2, and KPLR 11. To speak to Gonzalo, call (314) 433-9131 or email email@example.com.